8 episodes

William Veres is in trouble. In 2018 he was arrested following the largest ever investigation by the Italian police’s art squad. They accuse him of running a pan-European art-smuggling ring with ties to the Sicilian mafia. He is alleged to have stolen $40 million worth of art and antiquities from Italy. Charged with 14 counts, including money laundering, forgery, wire fraud and conspiracy, he faces a jail term of up to 20 years.

But he has a plan to get out of trouble. In this four-part podcast, host Simon Willis follows him as he puts that plan into action. It’s a story that takes listeners deep into the underworld, and into the dark heart of the most famous criminal organization of them all – Cosa Nostra.

It is a story of drug dealers, hitmen, smugglers, spies – even a corrupt prime minister. And in the middle of it all is William Veres’s quest to save himself. How? By solving the coldest cold case in the history of art crime – the theft of Caravaggio’s Nativity.

The Professor is a series for Hidden Worlds, the home of unbelievable true stories and gripping investigations into shadowy places.

Stay subscribed to Hidden Worlds and get brand new series delivered to your favorite podcast app year-round. One podcast, endless stories.

For more, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds.

The Professor: Hunting for the Mafia's Missing Masterpiece Brazen

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.5 • 279 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

William Veres is in trouble. In 2018 he was arrested following the largest ever investigation by the Italian police’s art squad. They accuse him of running a pan-European art-smuggling ring with ties to the Sicilian mafia. He is alleged to have stolen $40 million worth of art and antiquities from Italy. Charged with 14 counts, including money laundering, forgery, wire fraud and conspiracy, he faces a jail term of up to 20 years.

But he has a plan to get out of trouble. In this four-part podcast, host Simon Willis follows him as he puts that plan into action. It’s a story that takes listeners deep into the underworld, and into the dark heart of the most famous criminal organization of them all – Cosa Nostra.

It is a story of drug dealers, hitmen, smugglers, spies – even a corrupt prime minister. And in the middle of it all is William Veres’s quest to save himself. How? By solving the coldest cold case in the history of art crime – the theft of Caravaggio’s Nativity.

The Professor is a series for Hidden Worlds, the home of unbelievable true stories and gripping investigations into shadowy places.

Stay subscribed to Hidden Worlds and get brand new series delivered to your favorite podcast app year-round. One podcast, endless stories.

For more, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Episode 1: The Nativity

    Episode 1: The Nativity

    William Veres is arrested in a dawn raid – one of 50 simultaneous raids across Europe to bust his criminal gang. To get out of trouble he agrees a deal with Italian anti-mafia police: if he can help them solve the coldest cold case in the history of art theft, they will help him in his own case. In this episode, we follow Veres as he begins his quest to find Caravaggio’s Nativity, believed to be in the hands of Cosa Nostra.

    Don’t want to wait for the next episode? Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus to listen to the full series today, and get ad-free listening.

    For more fearless storytelling, search for the Brazen channel on Apple Podcasts or visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds.

    • 39 min
    Episode 2: The Go-Between

    Episode 2: The Go-Between

    Veres goes to Belgium to meet a contact who he believes can help him obtain vital information about the Caravaggio painting. The contact agrees to act as Veres’s go-between, connecting Veres with senior figures in the mafia hierarchy. Meanwhile, host Simon Willis delves into the past investigations of the case, and finds out why the official investigation went nowhere: it was closed down after it uncovered links between the Caravaggio theft and Mafiosi close to Italian politicians.

    Don’t want to wait for the next episode? Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus to listen to the full series today, and get ad-free listening.

    The Professor is a series for Hidden Worlds, the home of unbelievable true stories and gripping investigations into shadowy places. Subscribe to Hidden Worlds and get brand new series delivered to your favorite podcast app year-round. One podcast, endless stories. For more, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds.

    For more fearless storytelling, search for the Brazen channel on Apple Podcasts or visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds.

    • 35 min
    Episode 3: Money for Nothing

    Episode 3: Money for Nothing

    Veres gets word that the mafia are willing to talk about returning stolen art. He meets a group of middlemen in Naples, who tell him there’s a canvas on offer. As Veres negotiates the return of the painting, we begin to doubt Veres and Brand’s account of how they recover stolen art. It looks like they risk breaking the law to get the painting back. In his quest to get himself out of trouble, is Veres getting himself deeper into it?

    Don’t want to wait for the next episode? Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus to listen to the full series today, and get ad-free listening.

    The Professor is a series for Hidden Worlds, the home of unbelievable true stories and gripping investigations into shadowy places. Subscribe to Hidden Worlds and get brand new series delivered to your favorite podcast app year-round. One podcast, endless stories. For more, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds.

    For more fearless storytelling, search for the Brazen channel on Apple Podcasts or visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds.

    • 27 min
    Episode 4: The Fugitive

    Episode 4: The Fugitive

    Veres receives some photographs of parts of the Caravaggio canvas. He follows the lead to a source in Belgium, who is close to the Sicilian mafia. The source provides crucial new information about what happened to the painting. And it points to one man: a mafioso who has been on the run for thirty years.

    Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus to get ad-free listening.

    The Professor is a series for Hidden Worlds, the home of unbelievable true stories and gripping investigations into shadowy places. Subscribe to Hidden Worlds and get brand new series delivered to your favorite podcast app year-round. One podcast, endless stories. For more, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds.

    For more fearless storytelling, search for the Brazen channel on Apple Podcasts or visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds.

    • 35 min
    Introducing The Burden

    Introducing The Burden

    Thanks for listening to The Professor. There will be a brand new Hidden Worlds series coming soon.

    In the meantime, we wanted to share The Burden — a new investigative true-crime podcast from Orbit Media.

    The show tells the story of Detective Louis Scarcella, once celebrated for his prowess in solving tough cases in 1990s New York City. But then a group of convicted murderers-turned-jailhouse lawyers made a startling discovery that linked all their cases: Scarcella was the cop who helped put them away. They said they were innocent — and that Scarcella coerced witnesses. They made a vow: Take down Scarcella. And with the help of a relentless New York Times reporter, they did just that. Twenty people Scarcella helped put behind bars have since walked free. In the media, he’s known as the disgraced, rogue cop who hoodwinked an entire system. But was this really the workings of one person?

    The Burden is out now. To listen to the rest of the series, search for The Burden wherever you listen to podcasts.

    • 16 min
    Introducing Hidden Worlds

    Introducing Hidden Worlds

    Right now, around the world, there are real life stories unfolding that you wouldn’t believe. Stories that are stranger than fiction.

    In Hidden Worlds, we’ll take you inside these stories and into places usually concealed from view. Every few weeks, we’ll use this feed to share a new podcast series with you — everything from organised crime to espionage, political corruption to international conspiracies.

    Subscribe to Hidden Worlds, the home of gripping investigations and unbelievable true stories, and get a brand new series delivered to your favourite podcast app every month. Up first is The Professor, a story of a stolen masterpiece, the Italian mafia, and one man’s search for redemption. Listen here, in Hidden Worlds, very soon.

    For more information, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds

    • 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
279 Ratings

279 Ratings

Niffler_UK ,

The Professor: Brilliantly paced and well narrated look at the Mafia’s role in art theft!

Listened to this over the Christmas period and wow - what an excellent podcast this is. I only wished it was more than four episodes. The podcast jumps between the present and the past (when the Sicilian Mafia were at their prime), as one man tries to avoid jail time by finding a Caravaggio painting stolen in 1969. Journalist Simon Willis is a brilliant narrator, but what really makes this podcast shine is the incredible sound design. Highly recommend!

friendxo ,

Excellent reporting

I don’t know how I started following Laura on Instagram. My interest into insights on Hong Kong. I feel that she has been my prime source of on the ground information there through her photography and prose. Now she is taking me to Ukraine with sounds and glimpses into everyday people’s lives. Just listened to episode 1, looking forward to the next. Thank you.

deanandtweetwee ,

Well Done

Fascinating story and hard to believe it’s basically been covered up. Well investigated and reported.

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